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Louisa Chu

El Bulli 2005 Reservations

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Fax or email NOW. NO phone calls.

The fax number is 972150717. The country code for Spain is 34.

The email address is bulli@elbulli.com.

Luis Garcia - the maitre d'hotel - and the one man solely responsible for The Book - officially starts the reservations tomorrow - October 15th. But I know for a fact that he's already started looking at the requests - we road tripped together down to an El Bulli chef's wedding Sunday morning.

He had over 300 thousand requests last year for eight thousand places.

Good luck.

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He had over 300 thousand requests last year for eight thousand places.

:blink: Seriously? That's more 'selective' than most Universities!

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Fax or email NOW. NO phone calls.

The fax number is 972150717. The country code for Spain is 34.

The email address is bulli@elbulli.com.

Luis Garcia - the maitre d'hotel - and the one man solely responsible for The Book - officially starts the reservations tomorrow - October 15th. But I know for a fact that he's already started looking at the requests - we road tripped together down to an El Bulli chef's wedding Sunday morning.

He had over 300 thousand requests last year for eight thousand places.

Good luck.

Louisa (or anyone else that can help),

I am about to write an e-mail but I would have a couple of quick questions: would the restaurant be open around the easter period already, or is it too early? If they are open, are these particularly difficult reservations to get?

Thank you for your help.

Francesco

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I have already emailed a request for next August. I will keep my fingers crossed. At this moment El Bulli is the one restaurant in the world that I feel I absolutely have to get to that I haven't already eaten at. After reading the desciption of Michel Bras on the French Board that may be another and then I am also waiting for Alinea.

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:blink: Seriously? That's more 'selective' than most Universities!

Hey, I got into college. I'm a better eater than I was a student. I'm not only a better eater, I take my food more seriously than I ever took my academic studies.

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They expect about half a million requests for next season.

And the restaurant's open about April 1st through September 30th - and ALL the dates are difficult - the first three months there's dinner only five days a week - and August is traditionally the most requested.

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Thank you so much, LKL Chu, for the heads-up!

This is just to say that only two days after I e-mailed asking for a reservation, I received a reply from Luís Garcia:

"Apreciado Señor,

Le escribo sólo por su tranquilidad de que recibimos su mail. Acabamos de iniciar la gestión de reservas para el 2005 y son incontables las peticiones que están llegando. Tardaremos un poco en leerlas y organizarlas todas pero intentaremos darles una respuesta lo antes posible. Debo explicarles también que la demanda es extraordinaria y nos será del todo imposible poder atender la gran mayoría de peticiones recibidas.Le ruego me indique para cuántas personas desean reservar.

Gracias por su interés.

Atentamente,

Luis Garcia"

I thought this was very polite and prompt, arguing against those who've imagined it was useless even to try. I wish a lot of lesser restaurants were as careful and gracious. Kudos to El Bulli!

I hope it encourages other eGullet fellow members to keep up hope and get their bids in.


Edited by MiguelCardoso (log)

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Miguel -

You are so welcome - and best of luck. For non-Spanish readers/speakers, the email basically says rest assured, we got your email, it's going to take a little time for us to go through all of them, but we'll let you know as soon as possible. And yes, careful and gracious are great descriptors - I'll let Luis know - I think he'll appreciate that his sincerity comes through.

Louisa

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I haven't received any reply at all yet. I sent my email on the 8th. I hope that it has been received. Miguel when did you send yours?

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No reply here either but it has taken up to 4 weeks in the past and has always worked out OK in the endso am not panicking yet, just get a bit twitchy when opening my mail in the morning.

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I am out of luck three out of three. The first one the day after Louisa posted here, and then more or less once a week since...

Silly.

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I still haven't had a response. Unfortunately, as a result my window has narrowed to the last week of August.

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I got an immediate no for a request anytime in May or August.First time I have failed to get one and wrote shortlyafter midnight on the opening day.

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I also got an apology and a no. Tried for April on the first night requests were taken.

I was a little supprised but not entirely. Only 8000 seatings available for 300,000 requests. Unfortunetly I would guess at least a portion of those 8000 will go to people with better access but less of a palete than some of us. They will go and then complain. We have it here in California with French Laundry in Napa area. They use influence or patience to get in then do not understand the food. Or try to BYOB with a $10 bottle of supermarket wine and get upset when told it will be $50 corkage. Keller is very talented and inovative bu tnot to everyones liking. Their loss. Oh well!

Fortunetly in BCN there are many fine alternatives to enjoy. And I plan on doing so.

David

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Every serious foodie I know has had the opportunity to dine at el Bulli. I don't know how this happens, but it does. It flies in the face that with the odds 30-1 against, people who are serious do get in. I know that some such people have their ways of getting a table and, like any other desireable restaurant, a table or two is left aside for friends or friends of friends. Maybe Louisa can tell us differently, but another way to do it is to not make el Bulli the only reason for your going to Barcelona or Catalunya. Then when you are there, keep calling Luis for a "last minute" cancellation; i.e. 2-48 hours before. Remember, if you are in the region and you don't get into el Bulli, it's not the end of the world. There are so many wonderful places to dine. Also, your odds of getting in to el Bulli are better in the shoulder season.

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The odds seem to decrease greatly every year. They were also doubled against getting a reservation the year they stopped doing both lunch and dinner. Four years ago I don't recall having a problem getting a reservation. Two years ago, we didn't make them early, but gave them a week or ten day span and they replied with a date outside our window. And that was after we met Alberto in Paris and propably required luck and a cancellation. We're overdue for a meal there. I only hope Luis appreciates that as much as we do. :biggrin:

There's no doubt that there are other great restaurants in Catalunya and several of them are truly destination restaurants in every sense of the word. I'm beginning to suspect there are plenty of non destination restaurants that will make you happy to be there as well.

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No doubt that the dining in Catalunya is superb and there are many other reasons to travel there for culinary adventure and delight than El Bulli. For me though, right now El Bulli is the only one for which I will make a special trip for primarily because I haven't yet been there and so very much wish to try it for myself. I'm not quite sure how to take the lack of a response. The fact that I haven't received a "no" isn't bad, but then maybe they never received my request. :unsure:

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I also haven't received any response to my email. I asked for any date or time...

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No doubt that the dining in Catalunya is superb and there are many other reasons to travel there for culinary adventure and delight than El Bulli. For me though, right now El Bulli is the only one for which I will make a special trip for primarily because I haven't yet been there and so very much wish to try it for myself. I'm not quite sure how to take the lack of a response. The fact that I haven't received a "no" isn't bad, but then maybe they never received my request. :unsure:

I received a "no" this morning. I had given them a 15 days in April + 60 days in the summer window. I had made the reservation a couple of hours after Louisa's original post.

I get the impression that they are slowly working the list backwards so that they get all the "no"s out of the way before finally getting to those they can accept. If I am right, then no news is good news.

Francesco

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Francesco, I am sorry for you, but at this point, selfishly, I hope you are correct. Time may tell.

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Robert, for better or worse, El Bulli does not keep aside a single table for friends or family. We had two harsh lessons in that this season - one of the favourite chef de parties asked for a table for his parents - and a sous chef asked for his longtime fiancee - both were unfortunately denied.

Francesco and John, that is how it works - Luis gets "the ones with no possibilities" out of the way first.

If it's any consolation, Luis is a man haunted by this responsibility. He takes no requests lightly.

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Francesco and John, that is how it works - Luis gets "the ones with no possibilities" out of the way first.

If it's any consolation, Luis is a man haunted by this responsibility. He takes no requests lightly.

Well, all I need is to be able to get in eventually, it doesn't matter that much if it's this year or the next.

However, it would be helpful to know exactly when you should start to ask for a reservation for a given season: the suggestion that you ask for a place if you happen to be in the area doesn't really work for me as I would probably arrange my meals in advance and would hate to cancel someone with little notice just because a table is suddenly free at El Bulli.

Any ideas?

Thank you,

Francesco

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For what it's worth, I did what I usually do when a reservation is difficult and my interest is high: I will take any day, as long as I have a week's notice. Then I'll plan a whole trip around the meal. I figure it's much easier for me to adapt to El Bulli's impossible schedule than vice-versa.

I've done this only twice before and, thanks to serindipity and a lot of pleasurable planning (which I love), I've been rewarded with very memorable gastronomic excursions.

In case I'm lucky, I wonder whether it would be smarter to fly to Barcelona from Lisbon and hire a car or drive directly from Lisbon? My instinct would be to drive, as I very much enjoy picking up enormous and heavy quantities of food supplies and other useful stuff. When I travel, I do absolutely everything to reduce stress so I don't move from hotel to hotel. Where should I be based? I'd like the most comfortable hotel or parador within decent distance of El Bulli.

I appeal to my Spanish brothers for the name of a nice hotel with an interesting radius of not more than 50 kilometres. I'd much rather extensively explore the area around El Bulli than have to drive longer distances (as my wife and I do enjoy our wine) or have to move luggage from onr place to another.

What I usually do is trace a 50 kilometre circumference with a compass and choose the central point which has access to the the greatest number of interesting restaurants. In the case of El Bulli, I'm stumped.

Does any kind soul have any ideas? Thanks beforehand.

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